August 22, 2007

THE NEXT ELECTION WILL BE WHAT MARGINALIZES THEM MOST:

How to challenge Iran's militancy without using arms: Iran is not Al Qaeda. We need to isolate the ruling elite and radical clerics by reaching out to the Iranian people directly. (Marc Gopin and Gregory Meeks, 8/23/07, CS Monitor)

In a recent poll by Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonprofit research group that develops strategies to counter terrorism, 70 percent of Iranians thought that normal relations with the West should be a high priority, but only 29 percent thought nuclear energy should be, and an astonishing 61 percent disapproved of Ahmadinejad's government.

The internal vulnerabilities of Iran's ruling circles make this a perfect time to extend an olive branch to the people of Iran with a diplomatic initiative that involves economic incentives and development opportunities for the poor, the middle class, and the reformers. Multilateralism is a must if we want this to happen, because Europe, Russia, Japan, and others maintain good relations with Iran's business sector, the kind necessary in order to provide socioeconomic development assistance. If the Revolutionary Guard and the president block these gestures then "it is on their heads," and we will likely see them increasingly marginalized.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 22, 2007 7:13 PM
Comments

The next election will be a butterfly's cough during a hurricane if Rafsanjani wins. He was President for 8 years already - no reform there.

Nothing is going to change in Iran unless someone outside the hive can shake the place up. Extremely unlikely that the gangs will allow it to happen.

Remember, over two years to go. If Khameini dies before then, what are the odds there will be an election? 1 in 3? 1 in 5? Or higher?

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 22, 2007 11:42 PM

100%. The theology requires it.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2007 7:06 AM

The why no elections while Khomeini was alive?

In Iran, theology is just a means to power, and was so often in the West as well. It is ahistorical to expect the ruling cliques to act differently, especially if there is a real alternative (i.e., a solid reform candidate who captures the public's heart).

They are crumbling, and it makes things very interesting (and dangerous).

Posted by: ratbert at August 23, 2007 6:08 PM

Khomeini was French, not Shi'ite. Khomeinism, as Sistani has taught, is heretical.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2007 9:01 PM

And yet to oppose Khomeinism in Iran today is death. Who will speak against the heresy?

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 24, 2007 7:21 AM

They're even too afraid to kill Ayatollah Montazeri.

Posted by: oj at August 24, 2007 9:12 AM
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